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Legendary Broadcast Journalist Morley Safer Dies at 84

  • Ken Schwartz

In this Nov. 10, 1993 file photo, The "60 Minutes" team, from left, Morley Safer, Steve Kroft and Mike Wallace pose at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

In this Nov. 10, 1993 file photo, The "60 Minutes" team, from left, Morley Safer, Steve Kroft and Mike Wallace pose at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

American broadcast journalist Morley Safer, who became one of the country's most respected and honored reporters in his 52 years with CBS news, died Thursday, four days after making his final broadcast.

Safer, who announced his retirement last week, was 84 years old. CBS did not announce a cause of death.

The Toronto-born Safer came to CBS in 1964 after several years of working for Canadian and British news agencies.

An early Safer report in 1965 showed U.S. Marines using cigarette lighters to set fire to civilian huts in a South Vietnamese village during a fruitless search for communist guerillas.

Old men and women wailed and sobbed watching their tiny homes reduced to ashes, while the U.S. troops showed no emotion.

The Pentagon and White Hose were outraged at CBS and the Safer report, which helped turn public opinion against U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Safer joined the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes in 1970, and was credited with some of the series' most memorable moments, including a report on a sloppy murder trial that led to freedom for an innocent man serving life in prison.

A Safer report on the health benefits of drinking red wine, a trip aboard the famed Orient Express train, and the profile of an Auschwitz inmate who avoided the Nazi gas chamber by playing music were among the reasons he won three Peabody Awards and 12 Emmys.

Despite 60 years on television, Safer always said the written word and appealing to the ear was more important than appealing to the eye.

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